SEPTEMBER 5, 2019
ELIMINATING LEAD BULLETS ISN’T ANTI-HUNTING, CONSERVATIONISTS SAY; IT’S BEING PRO-HUMAN AND WILDLIFE HEALTH. FRANZ CAMENZIND ASKS: WHAT SPORTSMAN WOULD BE OPPOSED TO THAT?
How many times have we used the phrase “get the lead out” to encourage action on this or that issue? Well, it’s time to take these words literally and get the lead out of our hunting ammunition; hunters, it’s time to go lead-free.
The U.S. Geological Survey recently estimated that between 6,000 and 10,000 tons annually—that’s 12 to 20 million pounds of lead related to hunting ammo and fishing tackle— enters our nation’s uplands, wetlands and waterways each year.
Staff at the Raptor Center in the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine, estimate that90 percent of the 120 to 130 bald eagles they receive each year have elevated BLLs. Of these, 20-25 percent either die or are euthanized, and over the course of 24 years, the staff reports that well over 500 eagles have met that fate.
“Recreational” shooters reported killing an estimated two million black-tailed prairie dogs per year in just three of the eleven states in which they occur. Undoubtedly, the majority was shot with lead bullets and left where they fell. At 2.5 pounds per prairie dog, potentially 5 million pounds of lead-contaminated carcasses were left on the killing fields for scavengers to unwittingly ingest.
As of 2013, the researchers attributed the death of at least two resident adult bald eagles to lead poisoning, no doubt resulting from feeding on lead infused gut piles- much as was the fate of golden eagle in Yellowstone. They also reported that many of the eagles tested were migrants, meaning that the impacts of the toxic feast were being exported throughout the region and beyond.
Now, a decade later, the National Park Service has still not managed to institute a service-wide ban on lead ammunition and fishing tackle. This, in our national parks and monuments where picking a wild flower can bring a considerable, and appropriate citation.
Regionally, Grand Teton Park requires that non-lead bullets be used for its elk reduction program, while the adjacent National Elk Refuge only encourages hunters to use non-lead ammunition during its annual elk and bison hunts.
Many articles have been published in sporting magazines touting the health and environmental benefits of switching to non-lead bullets. The good news is that a growing number of hunters are opting for non-lead alternatives. It seems the organizations that claim to represent the sporting community may not be keeping up with their own members.
OFFICIALS in Somerset are hunting a suspected bird poisoner after more than 40 pigeons were killed – including some that fell out of the sky dead.
Investigators including police and the RSPCA are looking into a spate of dead pigeons in Wells and say it is possible they were poisoned.
The birds started appearing in the High Street and beyond at the end of July – on roads, pavements and in people’s gardens.
The birds showed no obvious injuries or signs of disease, leading to suspicions there was a pigeon poisoner in the city.
As many as 40 dead birds have been reported.
One woman found three in her garden and there there was even a report of one falling out of the sky and landing on a woman carrying a coffee.
It was suggested the birds might have been suffering from “pigeon canker”, a disease prevalent during the breeding season.
But autopsy carried out voluntarily vets proved ‘inconclusive’.
Wells City Councillor Celia Wride said: “I must say poisoning was my immediate reaction at the time.
“If this is a case of somebody putting down some killer feed for them we need to find out and do something about it. This is not the way to go about things.”
The matter has been referred to the police who passed it on to Natural England, the Government quango that advises the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on conservation and wildlife.
Natural England passed the matter onto the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which has responsibility through the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme.
It is an offence to injure or kill a wild bird under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, except under licence, and offenders can face an unlimited fine and/or six months imprisonment.
Tests for bird flu and West Nile Virus carried out by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) proved negative.
A spokesman for the HSE said: “While HSE are unable to confirm the range of tests carried out by APHA as part of this post-mortem, the report provided did not state a view that disease was responsible for the pigeons’ deaths.”
Further analysis of tissue samples is currently being carried out by Fera Science Limited to determine if pesticides were used. This can take up to eight weeks.
If the toxicological report does indicate pesticide use, this information will be considered along with the field investigation report to try to identify whether the exposure took place from an approved use or not.
If abuse is suspected, then the information will be referred back to the police who are responsible for catching the pigeon poisoner.
A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “We are not sure what has happened, but we believe they may have been poisoned.
“The pigeons were taken to a vet by a member of the public and post mortems carried out.”
As well as being a deliberate act of poisoning the spokesperson said any potential source could also include poisonous substances not being safely stowed away.
Anyone with information that might help with the investigations is asked to call the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018 in confidence.
‘Euthanized’ not the right word for killings of geese in Salisbury: Letter
Last week, 362 Canada geese were euthanized, by request of the city of Salisbury to manage “an excessive population.” Kelly Powers, Salisbury Daily Times
Re: “Hundreds of geese euthanized in Salisbury, meat goes to local shelters,” July 8, 2019.
I object to use of the term “euthanize” in this coverage of the cruel roundup, transport and gassing to death of the Canada geese.
This government-industry term is a euphemism designed to disguise great suffering inflicted on defenseless creatures.
“Euthanasia” is a Greek term meaning “a good death.” It means a death that is merciful, peaceful, compassionate and humane — the opposite of being attacked, shoved into transport crates and delivered to a slaughterhouse and exposed to the slow, terrifying experience of suffocation.
Inhalation of carbon dioxide is painful and distressing to birds because they, like humans, have chemical receptors that are acutely sensitive to carbon dioxide.
There are reams of studies demonstrating the panicked effort of birds to escape chambers filled with carbon dioxide, which simultaneously burns and freezes their lungs. This gas is used in mass-exterminations of birds because it is cheap.
The fact that CO2 is “approved” by the American Veterinary Medical Association defies the well-documented fact that CO2 in inhumane.
The roundup of the geese in Salisbury is sickening to contemplate. It shows a failure of compassion and civility toward birds we should cherish rather than banish from our world.
Karen Davis is president of United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit that seeks to promote the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. She is a resident of Machipongo, Virginia.
Letter by UPC President Karen Davis published July 12, 2019 on Delmarva
– Karen Davis, President, United Poultry Concerns
Hundreds of geese euthanized in Salisbury, meat goes to food shelters
Last week, 362 Canada geese were euthanized, by request of the city of Salisbury to manage “an excessive population.” Kelly Powers, Salisbury Daily Times
Some leave constellations of droppings along the river, others down fairways, while others are watched happily as they graze.
But hundreds fewer geese are going to be seen waddling around Salisbury for the time being.
Kevin Sullivan of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services confirmed his team humanely euthanized 362 resident Canada geese two weeks ago, brought in by request of the city of Salisbury to manage “an excessive population.”
“The city of Salisbury reached out to USDA Wildlife Services to see how they might manage an over-population of Canada geese throughout the city, leaving droppings and over-grazing, habitat damage (and) polluting waters,” said Sullivan, director for Maryland, Delaware and Washington D.C.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources conducts an annual waterfowl survey, and the estimated Canada goose population decreased by about 61% from 2018 to 2019 — resting at about 250,200 state-wide as of February estimates.
No estimates from Salisbury could be provided.
Salisbury has worked with the USDA on goose population control for about 13 to 14 years, Sullivan said, but he believes this is the first time the city has turned to this method.
Mayor Jake Day did not comment on the specifics of the decision, nor has any official comment been provided on behalf of the the city’s Field Operations Department, the point of contact with Wildlife Services according to Sullivan.
“With some nets and panels, we surround the geese; we capture them; we put them in poultry crates and transport them to a waterfowl processor,” Sullivan said. “Then the meat is processed and given to food shelters.”
However, the Maryland Food Bank’s Eastern Shore branch as well as the Salvation Army’s local branch said they did not receive the processed meat.
Sullivan said the geese are euthanized in a humane method in line with American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines — euthanized with a carbon dioxide mixture.
The USDA consults with many communities on nonlethal tactics of handling goose populations, many of which Salisbury has routinely used in the past to combat the issue.
Police in Israel have arrested a man suspected of poisoning nearly half of the rare vulture population in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
The suspect, in his 30s, was detained in the Bedouin village of Tuba-Zangariyye, police said.
Eight out of 20 griffon vultures remaining in the area were found dead on Friday morning
The incident was a major blow to efforts to save the population, which has sharply declined in recent years.
In a statement shared on social media on Sunday (in Hebrew), police did not give further details about the suspect or his alleged motive but said the investigation into the incident was continuing.
Local media reports stated that the suspect was accused of spreading poison over the carcass of a cow to kill predators.
He was said to be unaware that vultures might consume it.
A fox and two jackals were also found dead, while two sick vultures were taken to a wildlife clinic for treatment, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) said.
Vets treating the sick vultures told Haaretz newspaper that there had been a “substantial improvement” in one of the birds, and that it may soon be released back into the wild.
Officials in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights have been trying to increase the vulture count there amid a dramatic decline in the population over the past 20 years.
Their numbers have reportedly dropped from 130 in 1998 to around 20 prior to the latest deaths.
Many have been poisoned, allegedly by local farmers whose herds are threatened by predators, Israeli news website Walla says.
The killing on Friday of so many birds was a “mortal blow” to the population, INPA Director Shaul Goldstein told AFP news agency.
INPA said it was even worse that the poisoning happened during nesting season, meaning eggs now might not hatch and chicks might not survive.
The authority said it would do everything possible to find out who was responsible and bring them to justice.
Most of the Syrian Golan Heights has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war. In March, the US became the first country to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the area since Israel effectively annexed it in 1981.
Balloons ingested by seabirds are more deadly to them than hard plastics, a study released last week concluded.
Studying the cause of death of more than 1,700 seabirds, researchers from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania and other organizations concluded balloons are the “highest-risk plastic debris item for seabirds,” a statement regarding the study’s findings, which were published in the journal Scientific Reports on March 1, states.
Of the 1,733 seabirds studied, scientists found that one in three of the birds had ingested marine debris prior to its death.
Though hard plastic typically accounts for the majority of marine debris ingested by seabirds, it is “far less likely to kill than soft plastics such as balloons,” the researchers concluded, according to the statement. In fact, balloons are “32 times more likely to kill than ingesting hard plastics,” they found.
“Among the birds we studied the leading cause of death was blockage of the gastrointestinal tract, followed by infections or other complications caused by gastrointestinal obstructions. Although soft plastics accounted for just 5 percent of the items ingested they were responsible for more than 40 percent of the mortalities,” the study’s lead author and a doctoral candidate with IMAS, Lauren Roman, said in the statement.
“Balloons or balloon fragments were the marine debris most likely to cause mortality, and they killed almost one in five of the seabirds that ingested them,” she continued, noting researchers hypothesized hard plastic fragments pass quickly through the bird’s gut while soft plastics “are likely to become compacted and cause fatal obstructions.”
The researchers said their findings “have significant implications for quantifying seabird mortality due to debris ingestion, and provide identifiable policy targets aimed to reduce mortality for threatened species worldwide.”
A furry, cat-size carnivore called the Humboldt marten is struggling to survive in an area sprouted with marijuana farms, and now California wants to protect the adorable creature by declaring it an endangered species.
The state’s declaration would apply only within state lines and wouldn’t offer federal protections.
A member of the weasel family, the Humboldt marten (Martes caurina humboldtensis) lives deep inside the redwood forests of the Pacific Northwest, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. The elusive animal was once thought to be extinct, but it was rediscovered in 1996. The Center for Biological Diversity estimates that 95 percent of the marten’s habitat has disappeared due to deforestation. [In Images: 100 Most Threatened Species]
There are two populations of Humboldt martens remaining: a group of about 100 in Oregon, and another group of about 200 in northern California, right where cannabis cultivation is booming, The Guardianreported. In Humboldt County, California, where the martens are found, there are an estimated 4,000 to 15,000 cannabis cultivation sites, The Guardian reported. That’s in addition to the illegal operations and “trespass grows” on public or tribal lands, The Guardian reported.
Cannabis cultivation is likely the biggest reason for the Humboldt marten’s decline, The Guardian reported. Not only are forests cleared to make room for farming, but many cannabis farmers also use rodenticides that make their way into the forest food chain, killing anything that eats rodents, including the martens. Live Science reported on a similar story in January about spotted owls (Strix occidentalis) in this same region of California that are dying after eating prey killed with toxic rodenticide left out by marijuana farmers.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reviewed a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and the California-based Environmental Protection Information Center asking the state to list the animal as endangered. The marten is currently classified by California as a species of special concern, but a status review from the CDFW found that listing the species as endangered is warranted, The Mercury News reported. The final determination is expected to be made in August, The Mercury News reported.
Original article on Live Science.
Eleven lions, including eight lion cubs, have been found dead in Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda after possibly being poisoned, a conservation official said on Thursday. The three lionesses and eight cubs were found dead near Hamukungu fishing village in the popular tourist destination.
“An investigation has been opened, but we suspect poisoning,” said Bashir Hangi, a communications officer with the Uganda wildlife authority. “It is still only a suspicion. We will try to establish the real cause of death.”
Lions have been killed in a number of poisoning incidents in Uganda. In May 2010, five were killed in the park in another possible poisoning case. Between May 2006 and July 2007, 15 lions died in the area in attacks blamed on landless herdsmen defending their cattle.
The parks grasslands are home to more than 600 species of bird and about 100 types of mammal including buffalo, waterbuck, leopards, hyena and elephants.
Article posted by C.A.S.H. Committee To Abolish Sport Hunting
By Jim Robertson
Photo taken by an outraged employee of another government agency. Jim Robertson received permission to use this photograph by Brooks Fahey of Predator Defense. Please visit: www.predatordefense.org/USDA.htm
Never in human history has a more self-serving, damaging and persistent lie been perpetuated than the patently false notion that non-human animals lack consciousness. I mean, who came up with the idea, anyway? Some human, no doubt! Thankfully for the animals’ sake, we’ve come far beyond that kind of thinking these days.
Yet, the United States Department of Agriculture’s shadowy take-lethal-action-against-natural-predators-any-time-they-might-even-cast-a-sideways-glance-at-a-farm-animal division, the inaptly named “Wildlife Services,” a government agency that tries to claim science as its moral guide, conveniently ignores modern peer-reviewed studies such as the findings of 16 scientists in the 2014 Convention for Consciousness, which states:
“Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”
And the Delegation for Scientific Expertise takes it a step further, including fish, invertebrates—and those institutionally exploited species whose rights and well-being the agenda-driven humans would rather not have to acknowledge—to the thinking, feeling fold:
“Livestock species, such as poultry, pigs, and sheep, exhibit cognitive behaviors that seem to imply levels and contents of consciousness that until recently were considered exclusive to humans and to some primates. That is even more the case for fish and invertebrates that until recently were not even considered as sentient.”
But like Cartesian vivisectionists of dark ages past, USDA’s Wildlife Services must secretly wish that animals were unconscious so they could carry out their cruelties without protest from struggling victims (or their advocates).
When Wildlife “Services” speaks of animal suffering, it’s with the callous disassociation—indeed, the downright disregard and doublespeak—of the friendly neighborhood psychopath. And like a psychopath, the only reason they “care” about anything or anyone is when they think it affects them somehow. To the agency, wild animals are just resources and the “services” they perform are for the sake of industry—certainly not for the animals themselves:
“Pain and physical restraint can cause stress in animals and the inability of animals to effectively deal with those stressors can lead to distress. Suffering occurs when action is not taken to alleviate conditions that cause pain or distress in animals. Defining pain as a component in humaneness appears to be a greater challenge than that of suffering.”
In the words of Wildlife Watch’s own Anne Muller: “particularly galling is their analysis of ‘suffering’ and ‘pain,’ discussed as though they have a shred of concern for the individual animal or would know the meaning of the words ‘pain and suffering’ in animals at the most superficial level.”
Photo by Wildlife Services
One group devoted to ending the terrible reign of Wildlife Services is Predator Defense. The following overview and kill data is from their website: “Wildlife Services is a strategically misnamed federal program within the USDA that wastes millions of dollars each year killing wild animals with traps, snares, poisons, gas, and aerial gunning at the request of corporate agriculture and the hunting lobby. According to their official reports, they have slaughtered over 34 million animals in the last decade. Even worse, we’ve had whistleblowers tell us repeatedly that Wildlife Services’ real kill numbers are significantly higher, just not reported.
In 2016 alone they claim to have killed 2.7 million animals, including the following vital native predators:
332 mountain lions”
(For more on the savage escapades of Wildlife Services, watch the film, Exposed, by Predator Defense: www.predatordefense.org/exposed/index.htm)
The late ornithologist and evolutionary biologist, Ernst Mayr, asked at the end of his book, What Evolution Is (one of 25 books on the subject to his name written over his 100 years of life), “How did human consciousness evolve? The answer is actually quite simple: from animal consciousness! There is no justification in the wide-spread assumption that consciousness is a unique human property… It is quite certain that human consciousness did not arise full-fledged with the human species, but as the most highly evolved end point of a long evolutionary history.”
And as Marc Bekoff, PhD, professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, wrote in his column for Psychology Today:
“…sentient nonhuman beings care about what happens to themselves and to family members and friends, and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect for who they are, not what we want them to be. …animals’ lives are valuable because they are alive — they have what is referred to as inherent value — not because of what they can do for us — what is called their instrumental value. It’s about time that we welcome them into our world and the arena of conscious beings.”
Of course, no one in the know and without a self-serving agenda would ever think of checking with the USDA “Wildlife Services” about anything having to do with animal awareness or intelligence—after all, they are in the business of depersonalizing animals so they can justify killing them. But for a government agency that is supposed to be utilizing science, they’re clearly behind the times. You could say their grasp of reality for animals is almost stone-aged.
Speaking of stone-aged thinkers, ironically, sport hunters, trappers and fishermen must “instinctively” know, almost as well as anyone, that animals are aware. Heck, what challenge would there be to their chosen sports if animals couldn’t think for themselves and make an effort to hide or escape? And just think what would happen to the camouflage clothing industry if animals somehow became unthinking, unfeeling robots that did not fear their pursuers.
Photo by Wildlife Services
To question whether or not animals are conscious is so absurd that one might wonder if it’s the animal-sentience deniers who lack awareness instead. In a satirical intro to the chapter, “Inside the Hunter’s Mind,” of my book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport, I turn the argument back on the exploiters themselves: “Hunters were once thought of as automatons: robots programmed to react to stimuli but lacking the ability to think and feel. But radical new studies have tentatively shown them to be capable of grasping simple grammar and the meanings of certain symbols (especially those lit up in neon in front of their favorite tavern or mini-mart).
If an attempt at humor seems out of place, consider this, the subject matter is so grim, gruesome or ghastly, that only a sport hunter and/or Wildlife Services agent would want to dwell there, mentally, for more than a fleeting moment or two. Now, not all hunters or trappers have jobs with the USDA Wildlife Services, but you can bet your bottom dollar that nearly all Wildlife Services agents are sport hunters and trappers in their spare time, in addition to being poisoners and aerial gunners when they’re on the clock.
Those in the Wildlife Services are clearly the worst of the worst. If you ever slip up and find yourself pitying some of these people whom you might hear about being lost in a plane crash or a rollover accident on a gravel back road, remember, they are the ones who aerial shoot, snare, trap, poison, etc. countless coyotes, bears, foxes, bobcats, wolves, cougars, etc., etc. Talk about unconscious, Wildlife Services must lack something else non-human animals have proven to posses: feelings like guilt, remorse or empathy for others—a conscience.
Jim Robertson is the President of C.A.S.H. and author of Exposing The Big Game.